The people who spoke and helped set up the speaker event.
The people who spoke and helped set up the speaker event.
Johnny Rothrock

State High Holds Book Drive and Speaker Event

On Oct. 15, there was a speaker event on the importance of education, literature, and writing for people who were or are incarcerated. Sophomore Sarah Ocampo helped in creating the event.

Ocampo described her thoughts on this topic.

“I’ve had connections with people who have been influenced by the criminal justice system and I’ve seen the impacts it has made on people,”Ocampo said. “I think it’s really important to speak up about it, it’s not just a demographic, they’re people with families, they’re people with friends and it’s a world issue we need to combat.”

Ocampo also touched the overall success of the event and the book drive held here at State High.

“It was something I thought of over the summer and something that I wanted to focus on. The speaker event and the book drive were a success; we got around 500 books. For the speaker event, I had a lot of emotion just looking at all the work I put in and seeing it actually happen. It just felt like a weight off of my shoulders,” Ocampo said.

Events like this one aren’t easy to start individually, especially at a school. Ocampo described the amount of support she had in general, but also the support from administration.

“Administration was so open to hearing me out, especially Mrs. Tobias, she was really hearing me out for what I wanted and the mission that I had for it,” Ocampo shared.

Education is important and some people don’t have access to adequate education. A lot of people who have been impacted by the criminal justice system have had limited access to education. The goal for the event was to get books and other materials for people who were or are incarcerated.

Rachael Borden, 9th grade English teacher at State High, gave a perspective on the importance of education.

“Education can steer the course of one’s life in many ways. Without education, many opportunities are difficult to grasp or simply impossible,” Borden said. “The impact of being literate alone provides millions of opportunities that would be unattainable otherwise. Even just reading for 10 minutes a day can have enormous benefits; I’ve read articles saying that 10 minutes of reading per day can improve grades by 90%! If 10 minutes of reading can be that impactful, certainly a full education can drastically change the course of one’s life.”

Borden also explained how access to materials can really impact the course of someone’s education, which can also help people achieve their goals and dreams.

Ocampo explained that she is not done and that she is going to continue diving into the criminal justice system. She has set up an Instagram page called Recreation For Corrections to help with that. She also shared that she intends to have other speakers to get their perspective on this topic.

“It’s wonderful what other people are doing to help people who were or are currently incarcerated, and I’m also going to be starting my own journey. I just hope I get as much peer support and help as possible. Because support is really important in this line of work, you need to know who you’re working for, who you’re fighting for,” Ocampo said.

To learn more check out Recreation For Corrections on Instagram which is Ocampo’s new project to help give education to people who were or are incarcerated.

 

 

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